Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, And Thyme Risotto

Doesn’t the title of this recipe just make you want to break out into the Simon and Garfunkel Scarborough Fair song? I have to admit I was humming it quite a bit while I was cooking. Well, I did try singing it, but realized I didn’t know most of the words and had to stick to the stanzas relating to the herbs. 

Then I found the celtic women singing this song and started thinking about a trip we are planning next year to Scotland and Ireland. Well, that took me on a whole other journey… gave me something to think about while stirring and stirring and stirring the risotto which, if you’ve ever made it, takes a lot of constant stirring.

Don’t be afraid of adding extra liquid to the pan during the stirring process. It always seems to take just a little more than I plan. You really want to maintain the silky creamy consistency of the rice mixture. And I promise you, all of the attention to the making of this recipe and stirring is worth it!

Hamburger cooked and adding risotto rice.

Wine and liquids added to the pan. A little wine even ended up IN the cook, but then, that’s why I make this recipe. haha.

Parmesan cheese added and stirred in before serving. I always seem to sprinkle on more cheese than I intend – don’t know how that happens. Parmesan cheese melted into the risotto creamy goodness. 

Delicious creaminess in a bowl. 

Serves 4

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, & Thyme

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  • 2 15oz cans beef broth (or your homemade stock)*
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine (I use primitivo when making risotto usually, but any deep bodied red will do)
  • 3/4 - 1 pound good quality ground beef
  • 1-2 slices pancetta or bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice**
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh sage, finely chopped (3/4 teaspoon dried)
  • 1/3 cup parmesan-reggiano, freshly grated
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Parsley to garnish (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Sauté pancetta in one tablespoon of butter on medium heat until cooked almost crisp.
  2. Add garlic and stir until garlic turns a pale golden color.
  3. Then add rosemary and sage to heat herbs and bring out their aroma (and flavor).
  4. Ground meat is added next, crumbling it into small bits as it is added to the pot.
  5. Season with salt and pepper when meat is browned.
  6. Add 1 cup of wine and let it simmer until wine has reduced out.
  7. Turn up the heat and add the rice, coating the grains with the mixture in the pan.
  8. Start adding beef broth about a half cup at a time, stirring constantly (do not let the rice stick to the bottom of the pan).
  9. When liquid has reduced, add another half cup and continue until all the beef broth has been used. This should take about 20-25 minutes.
  10. Add the last of the wine and continue stirring until wine has evaporated (more may be needed depending on the doneness of the rice).
  11. Take off the heat, add the last pat of butter and the grated parmesan and stir until risotto is thoroughly covered and the cheese is melted.
  12. Garnish with chopped parsley.


*This recipe can be made purely with wine and with a small amount of beef stock and larger amount of wine. It is up to you and your tastes how you want to adjust the recipe. Since this recipe uses ground beef instead of sausage, I thought the beef broth added another layer of flavor. **Rule of thumb on amount of rice is about 1-2 handfuls per person.


Calories: 599 cal
Carbohydrates: 64 g
Fat: 18 g
Sodium: 1546 g
Cholesterol: 71 g
Protein: 27 g
If you like risotto, here are a couple of other versions you might want to try: Primitivo Risotto (my personal favorite), or  Eggplant Risotto.

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